Do People Ever Change?

I ask that as a truly philosophical question.  In my personal experience, it takes a lot for a person to change.  Conditions have to be just right, including the person’s own desire to change, having the ability and wherewithal to put in the actual hard work of changing, and having some sort of positive reinforcement.  In other words, the stars have to align.

Maybe it’s a cynical point of view, but as I said, it is based on my own empirical data, my own worldview and my own experience.  I know that changing my habits to include exercise have been a monumental task, with only limited success.  I can’t imagine what someone who is attempting to quit smoking, or trying to become a more positive person goes through.

Awareness is the first step, though, and some people do not even choose to be aware of their own habits, or ways of being that may need changing.  Of course, if they are happy with who they are, and everyone else be damned, that’s perfectly fine – we all have free will.  But that person also must accept the possible consequence that all of those “damned” people may not stick around for too long.

Tiger PairSo who cares?  Well, as one who is soon to be joining households with a long-time bachelor, I do.  Change is inevitable, don’t you think?  A friend of mine who went through this process a few years ago (and is still, as it is an ongoing process) said the other day, as I was talking about this very subject, “He’ll change.  You’ll see.”  In fact, I think we both will.  We all will.

It takes a little bravery on the part of a good friend or partner to bring up to the person that their habits or ways of being may need to be considered.  That loved one must realize that an argument will most likely be the outcome, because most people will react defensively.  If they truly love you, though, they will consider what you have said, and will really begin to think about changing his or her own behavior.  In fact, that love is another ingredient for change.  We make adjustments for the ones we truly love, don’t we?  We want them to be happy, and usually find it within ourselves to contribute to that happiness.  This, too has been my experience, already in this process.  You have to truly care about each others’ feelings, and trust that your partner isn’t trying to hurt you, but bring your attention to something that could make your lives together a little more harmonious.

Trust.  Love.  Desire.  Hard work.  Strength.

Sounds like a recipe for a good marriage to me.

What are your thoughts?

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